• Alteon Inc., of Ramsey, N.J., raised $10.7 million in a private placement of 6 million shares with institutional investors. The financing will close in two tranches over the next three months. In the first closing, the company will sell about 4.5 million shares at $1.75 per share for about $7.8 million in gross proceeds. At the second closing, the company will sell up to a total of about 1.6 million additional shares at $1.85 per share for about $2.9 million in gross proceeds. There was no placement agent for the transaction. Proceeds will go to fund the company's ongoing systolic hypertension and heart failure clinical development programs of ALT-711, as well as to evaluate other indications and compounds.

• C Sixty Inc., of Houston, executed an exclusive research license, supply agreement and commercial license option agreement with Merck & Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J. Merck will seek to develop drugs based on C Sixty's fullerene antioxidants with therapeutic potential in two undisclosed therapeutic areas. Financial details were not disclosed.

• Chiron Corp., of Emeryville, Calif., said it is funding the establishment of the TOBI Foundation, an independent non-profit foundation to increase access to TOBI (tobramycin solution for inhalation) for uninsured and underinsured people with cystic fibrosis chronically infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The foundation, launched during this week's North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference in Anaheim, Calif., will issue vouchers for TOBI to eligible families who have either no health insurance or prohibitively high co-payments through their prescription drug coverage. Priority Healthcare Corp., of Lake Mary, Fla., will evaluate eligibility and administer grants on behalf of the foundation.

• CIMA Labs Inc., of Eden Prairie, Minn., said it received an unsolicited letter from an unnamed publicly held pharmaceutical company indicating an interest to purchase all shares of CIMA for about $30 apiece. The consideration will consist of a combination of cash and common stock of the pharmaceutical company in a proportion to be mutually agreed upon by the parties. The letter also said the proposal remains subject to confirmatory due diligence. CIMA's board said there is a reasonable likelihood that the proposal would result in a superior proposal to the stock-for-stock merger contemplated with aaiPharma Inc., of Wilmington, N.C. As such, CIMA entered a confidentiality agreement with the latest suitor and began discussions with its representatives to explore the possibility of a transaction. CIMA already has turned down Cephalon Inc., of West Chester, Pa., which in late August made a cash offer of $26 per share following aaiPharma's early August bid. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 22, 2003.)

• DiaDexus Inc., of South San Francisco, formed a license agreement with Human Genome Sciences Inc., of Rockville, Md., giving HGS exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize diagnostic immunohistochemical tests based on the tumor necrosis factor apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) Receptor-1 and TRAIL Receptor-2 proteins. DiaDexus retains exclusive commercial rights for diagnostics based on the proteins in other formats. It also will receive an up-front payment, clinical and commercial milestone payments, and royalties. The TRAIL proteins were discovered by HGS. DiaDexus acquired diagnostic rights through an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London.

• Endovasc Inc., of Montgomery, Texas, received $1.2 million from selected foreign investors in an offering of common stock. The company said the financing would allow it to "progress substantially" with its clinical trials. The company focuses on endocrine, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases.

The Forsyth Institute in Boston said data published in the Oct. 20, 2003, issue of Development describe a discovery by its researchers that a protein family called 14-3-3 is involved in embryonic pattern formation and that left-right asymmetry begins within one hour of fertilization, earlier than previously believed. Also, because the 14-3-3 protein family is found in fungi, plants and vertebrates, the study highlights a conservation of signaling mechanisms between distant organisms and links the functional physiology of the three kingdoms.

• Galapagos Genomics, of Mechelen, Belgium, published its adenoviral siRNA-based gene silencing technology in Genome Research, demonstrating efficient knockdown of specific gene expression in a variety of cell types, including human primary cells. Based on the approach, Galapagos has built a collection of adenoviruses, with knockdown sequences, called SilenceSelect, targeting more than 4,000 human druggable genes. The company is applying the collection to internal discovery programs that are focused on bone disorders and Alzheimer's disease.

• Genaera Corp., of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Inc. reported Phase II data at the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference in Anaheim, Calif., showing that Lomucin (talniflumate) was safe and maintained existing lung function in cystic fibrosis patients. The study hits its primary endpoint as therapy with Lomucin improved forced expiratory volume in one second by 0.04 liters vs. placebo, which showed a worsening of -0.08 liters. The study failed to show any improvement in residual volume measures of pulmonary function, nor was there improvement in pulmonary symptoms as measured by the Acute Respiratory Illness Checklist. The mucoregulator drug is being developed to reduce the overproduction of mucus in the respiratory tracts of patients, leading to improved lung function. The Phase II trial, which was supported by a grant from Genaera's collaborator, the nonprofit drug discovery and development affiliate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, was conducted in Ireland in 55 patients. The parties plan to further evaluate the results and the drug. Separate preclinical data reported at the meeting demonstrated improved survival of cystic fibrosis mice treated with Lomucin, compared to placebo or ibuprofen control groups, showing that oral Lomucin might be effective for treating the distal intestinal obstructive syndrome associated with cystic fibrosis.

• ID Biomedical, of Vancouver, received approval in Canada to begin a field study of FluINsure trivalent influenza vaccine. The trial will be conducted at about 25 sites across Canada, and will enroll 1,320 healthy adult subjects who will be followed from Dec. 1 through April 18, 2004.

• IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corp., of San Diego, was granted summary judgment by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in its legal dispute with Seattle-based Corixa Corp.; Coulter Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Francisco; the Regents of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; and London-based GlaxoSmithKline plc. The order found that the four patents asserted by the defendants were unenforceable due to the inventors' inequitable conduct in the prosecution of the underlying patent applications. IDEC first filed a complaint against the parties in September 2001, seeking a judgment that Zevalin does not infringe patents held by the defendants or that such patents were invalid. Corixa, Coulter and GlaxoSmithKline filed against IDEC that Zevalin infringes the same patents. The two suits were consolidated. Corixa said it would appeal the decision that its Bexxar patents are invalid. The company does not believe the decision will affect the commercialization of Bexxar.

• Immuno-Designed Molecules SA, of Paris, said it would coordinate a 12 million, three-year European research project to optimize cellular vaccines developed from dendritic cells. The project includes five other partners, including the Children's Cancer Research Institute in Austria, Etna Biotech in Italy, The Istituto Superiore di Sanita in Italy, the Peter McCallum Cancer Institute in Australia and the University of Regensburg in Germany. The program also will define an industrial-scale manufacturing process for the vaccines, and pursue clinical development of one against prostate cancer.

• Matritech Inc., of Newton, Mass., raised $6 million after closing a private placement of about 3.6 million common shares and warrants to purchase an additional 1.3 million shares at an exercise price of $2.45. The company, which received net proceeds of about $5.2 million, also issued five-year warrants to various placement agents to purchase 568,000 shares at prices ranging from $1.67 to $2.70 apiece. Matritech, which develops proteomics-based diagnostic products, said it would use the proceeds to increase its marketing and sales efforts and for ongoing in vitro diagnostic development, clinical trials, working capital, capital expenditures and general corporate purposes.

• Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., received funding from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., for three new research projects. Two grants will be shared with McLean Hospital, located just outside of Boston, to focus on the identification and characterization of central nervous system disorders. The third grant supports research with Syracuse University for the development of radiopharmaceuticals for the rapid visualization of infectious disease.

• Pain Therapeutics Inc., of South San Francisco, said Oxytrex in a Phase II trial of 350 osteoarthritic patients showed the drug achieved statistically significant results in the primary endpoint, the secondary endpoints and in functional scores. Patients on Oxytrex had more pain relief, longer-lasting pain relief and better physical function compared to patients on an equivalent dose of oxycodone. The company's stock (NASDAQ:PTIE) dropped $1.20 Thursday, or 16.2 percent, to close at $6.20.

• Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tustin, Calif., presented preclinical data for its anti-vascular endothelial growth factor anti-angiogenesis antibody, 2C3, at the American Association for Cancer Research's conference in Chicago. The study showed that 2C3 decreased total microvessel density, immature microvessel density, VEGFR2 levels, and vascular perfusion in responsive tumors. It also controlled the growth of human pancreatic tumor cells injected in the pancreas such that the 2C3 treated mice had primary tumors 50 percent smaller than tumors in controlled treated mice. No therapy related toxicity was observed.

• QLT Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Novartis Ophthalmics, a unit of Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland, said Japanese authorities approved Visudyne (verteporfin) for the treatment of the wet form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It has been approved for AMD with all types of subfoveal choroidal neovascularization. The drug is approved in the U.S. (See BioWorld Today, April 14, 2000.)

• Titan Pharmaceuticals Inc., of South San Francisco, acquired a clinical-stage product for congestive heart failure called 3,5-diiodothyropropionic acid, or DITPA, an orally active analogue of thyroid hormone. The compound has completed Phase I and preliminary controlled Phase II testing, and will begin a Phase II study in congestive heart failure patients in the next few months. Prior studies have resulted in improved cardiac output and measures of diastolic function, as well as significant cholesterol and triglyceride lowering capability in pilot clinical testing. The upcoming study will be funded by a $3.8 million government grant from the Veterans Administration, and Titan plans to evaluate DIPTA's use in treating high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The company obtained DITPA through its all-stock acquisition of privately held Developmental Therapeutics Inc., in exchange for about 1.2 million Titan shares, a purchase valued at about $3.9 million based on Wednesday's $3.22 closing bid price of the stock (AMEX:TTP). Titan also paid $171,250 in cash to the technology's licensor. An additional 750,000 shares will be made upon the achievement of positive pivotal study results or certain other similar substantial milestones.

• Xechem International Inc., of New Brunswick, N.J., received a fast-track, Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a unit of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., to further study Hemoxin (niprisan) for sickle-cell disease. The grant, which may be extended if the company meets certain milestones, follows last month's news of orphan drug designation from the FDA for Hemoxin.

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